Film Music (VIII) – La piel que habito: Los vestidos desgarrados (music by Alberto Iglesias)

The Skin I Live In (Spanish: La piel que habito) is a 2011 Spanish psychological thriller film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, and Roberto Álamo. The Skin I Live In is based on Thierry Jonquet’s novel Mygale. The film premiered in May 2011 in competition at the 64th Cannes Film Festival, and won Best Film Not in the English Language at the 65th British Academy Film Awards. Almodóvar has described the film as “a horror story without screams or frights”.

Alberto Iglesias is a spanish composer who composes many film scores and he mostly works with Almodóvar. Los Vestidos Desgarrados (The Torn Dress) is the main theme of the movie. When you watch the movie, music can be seen as a part of violin concerto but it is not. When you listen to all the pieces you will understand the genre of the music.

The Torn Dress is a reflection of anger, fear and curiosity. In order to understand and evaluate this scene and music, you should watch the complete movie.

When we look at the scene, we see a woman who rends the clothes and then she cleans torn pieces. In this short scene, we hear dominant violin arpeggios which are harsh, fast, and forte. Composer wants to show women’s depressive mood and he also wants to make an affection about the movie, because this scene is almost the beginning of the movie and nobody has any idea about the subject or what comes next. Composer’s approach is very affective to create curiosity and work reaches a success. In addition, this theme is that of the women’s depressive mood and stress. This idea comes from operatic culture. As you know, in romantic period characters have own themes and this technique has been provided for the connection between music and drama. This music is composed and placed on movie with similar reasons. Lastly, strings appear at the end of arpeggios to increase the effect. However, this orchestra is a virtual, computer based one. Why I am telling this, is because violin part is a real instrument and when real instruments are combined with virtual instruments, ear can recognize a major contrast. This is the only criticism that I would make.

If you do not watch this movie yet, I strongly recommend it.

PS:  Composer won the best score award with this movie in 2011.

Complete work:

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